Uncertainty and Risk As the Heritage Sector Reflects on the #Covid19 Pandemic

Stones of Stenness

Stones of Stenness

Tourism is a huge, important sector to the Scottish economy. Scotland trades on its amazing culture, heritage, landscape and quality food and drink.

The restrictions which had to be imposed on travel and movement due to the deadly Covid19 pandemic has hit the sector hard.

Historic Environment Scotland which cares for many heritage sites in Scotland has joined with others in the industry in a  COVID Historic Environment Resilience Forum .

The Forum will use the findings of an online survey conducted by HES into the impact of the lockdown restrictions to inform how it moves forward.

You can download the report here: covid19 sector survey report June 2020

The survey took place between the 9th and the 30th of April 2020 and had 265 responses.

As can be expected over 3/4 of those who responded reported on the loss of income and the uncertainty of the situation. The loss of income was from several sources: donations, entrance fees, funding and delayed payments from creditors.

And as we have been finding out with the experience of lockdown, mental health and stress was also a factor.

“The emotive wording of some responses expressed the pressures people were under to cope with the crisis on a personal and professional level”

61% of those who responded had adapted to remote working and 64% were planning what to do when lockdown was eased and in the future lifted.

Some organisations were supporting older volunteers by keeping up communications with them and others had repurposed their businesses to help in the local community.

Uncertainty and risk were key words throughout the responses.

Areas of the Historic Environment at Most Risk Credit HES

Areas of the Historic Environment at Most Risk Blue: % high risk of not surviving Amber: % moderate risk: need to re-shape

There were few opportunities from the lockdown expressed but some did find a few such as time to reflect, to reassess and to look at actions to address the climate emergency.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said:

“This is a difficult time for all of us working across the heritage sector, and on behalf of HES I would like to extend my gratitude to sector colleagues for responding so openly and honestly about the challenges we face.

“Our historic environment makes a vital contribution to communities right across Scotland – from supporting jobs and local economies to developing skills and learning, as well as promoting health and wellbeing – and we must champion the key role the sector has to play in our national recovery.

“While the current crisis has significant implications for Scotland’s heritage sector, it has also presented us with an important opportunity to come together to map out our vision for the future.

“In these uncertain times we understand the expectations on HES as the lead body for the sector.

broch of Gurness FG

Broch of Gurness, Orkney

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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